Streetcar Named Rob Ford lives on .. remember when his worship said he “no longer uses marijuana” in 2010 ????

May 18th, 2013 | By | Category: In Brief

Toronto 2010 mayoral candidate Rob Ford is shown in this mugshot taken shortly after his arrest in Florida in February 1999. Miami-Dade Police Department.

We have begun to renovate the bar at the top of the counterweights home page over the past few days. Much remains to be done. Among the starters we have retired our ”Streetcar Named Rob Ford” page. We were getting too jaded about the circus act the current mayor of Toronto, Canada has been offering over the past two and a half years and counting.

Now, as if to show us how wrong we were, a quite amazing new story about his worship has suddenly surfaced. It begs for attention. And one thing you have to give Mayor Ford is that, whatever else, he is getting attention for Toronto around the world. (Well, not exactly the whole world : but he did, eg, rate a mention by Bill Maher in Southern California last night.)

We certainly don’t have anything to add to the vast amount of digital and real-world ink that has already been almost instantly spilled over this latest Fordist adventure. But in our own desire to inform ourselves about the story, we have collected a dozen provocative links that may be of some slight interest to those who have not had time to undertake any similar digging.

Alleged photo of Mayor Ford with cocaine salesmen, 2013?

Our collection is in two parts. Part one includes eight links about the current story, which is nicely summarized in the headline and lead from one of these links — on the website HIPHOPWIRED : “Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Allegedly Seen Smoking Crack On Camera … Don’t tell Drake, but somebody is trying to make Toronto look bad. A video has surfaced, allegedly showing Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack …  The recording is being shopped around by drug dealers.”)

Part two includes four links about what may or may not finally prove to be a somewhat similar incident from the summer of 2010 — when Rob Ford was just campaigning for the job of Mayor of Toronto (a job he finally won, impressively enough, in the municipal election of October 25, 2010). This earlier story is summarized in the front end of one of these links, on the CBC News website: “Rob Ford to Miami cop: ‘Take me to jail’ …  Toronto mayoral candidate Rob Ford told a Miami police officer to ‘go ahead take me to jail’ just before he was arrested in Florida 11 years ago on charges of drunk driving and marijuana possession, according to a police document.”

The point in looking back to the summer of 2010 like this is that in the here and now of spring 2013, Mayor Ford has said that the allegations about him “Smoking Crack On Camera” are “ridiculous” and “absolutely not true.” He may just be telling the plain truth here. It is certainly easy to do almost anything with photoshop nowadays, and in any case how do you know from just watching a video that someone is actually smoking crack, etc, etc. [UPDATE MAY 24: Feedback from several sources has made clear that our comment on photoshop was misleading  for the kind of video involved here. See, eg:  “Digitizing a fake Rob Ford in a video is a technical impossibility …  But advances in technology have made us doubt visual evidence.”  At the same time, there have been recent reports about problems with the editing of videos to “create a misleading impression.”  See, eg, the Wikipedia article on “ACORN 2009 undercover videos controversy,” and the more recent Slate article : “How to Frame an Abortionist (VIDEO) … The deceptive editing of pro-life videos to make abortion clinics look bad.”]

In our own jaded view, all this would be more convincing, if citizens of Toronto did not already have memories about the mayoral campaign in the summer of 2010. Back then, when the story about how Rob Ford “was arrested in Florida 11 years ago on charges of drunk driving and marijuana possession” first surfaced, he at first claimed that this was simply not true either.

Mayor Ford — a happy guy, sometimes.

A report of the day from the aggressively conservative tabloid, the Toronto Sun, sticks in our collective minds here: “Ford said he’s never had any trouble crossing the border since the incident and no longer uses marijuana … ‘I don’t use drugs. I’m not in that scene,’ he said …  He put the incident so far behind him, he said he was caught off guard and adamantly denied having been charged when first approached by the Sun … ‘No to answer your question,’ Ford said … ‘I’m dead serious. When I say no, I mean never. No question, Now I’m getting offended. No means no’ … But after Ford was provided with details from a Florida state criminal history record obtained by the Sun, he admitted the incident …  ‘I completely forgot about it until you mentioned it right now,’ he said.”  (Mmmmmm … and if you want to inquire further into our complete dozen-link collection, click on “Read the rest of this page” and/or scroll below.)

Part One : the Allegedly Seen Smoking Crack On Camera story today

The mayor looking somewhat something or other at another 2013 Toronto event!

* For Sale: A Video of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Smoking Crack Cocaine.

* Video of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford allegedly smoking crack is up for sale: Gawker.

* Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Allegedly Seen Smoking Crack On Camera … Don’t tell Drake, but somebody is trying to make Toronto look bad. A video has surfaced, allegedly showing Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack …  The recording is being shopped around by drug dealers.

* GLOBE EDITORIAL: FIRST TAKE …  Alleged video of Rob Ford raises one very troubling question.

* Rob Ford crack scandal: Toronto mayor calls it ‘ridiculous’ but doesn’t issue denial … [This Toronto Star article includes links to seven other related items on the Star website.]

* Besieged Toronto Mayor Rob Ford denies ‘ridiculous’ crack pipe reports as campaign to buy alleged video grows.

* Toronto Mayor Rob Ford denies drug video allegations as world watches …  The latest controversy surrounding Toronto’s mayor has also captured a great deal of attention internationally, with CNN, Fox News and the BBC all reporting on the allegations … Politico, a US politics blog, had taken to linking Ford to Marion Barry — the former Washington mayor who arrested by FBI after being recorded smoking crack.

* How the Gawker and Toronto Star allegations against Mayor Rob Ford stack up.

Part Two: the arrested in Florida 11 years ago on charges of drunk driving and marijuana possession back in the summer of 2010

Mayor Ford with the local Toronto high school football team he coaches, November 15, 2012.

* Rob Ford to Miami cop: ‘Take me to jail’ … Toronto mayoral candidate Rob Ford told a Miami police officer to “go ahead take me to jail” just before he was arrested in Florida 11 years ago on charges of drunk driving and marijuana possession, according to a police document …  An arrest affidavit written by a Miami-Dade police officer on Feb. 15, 1999, states that Ford’s car was pulled over at 1:30 a.m. because its lights were off …  When the officer asked Ford for his licence and registration, Ford got out of the car, “threw his hands up in the air and said ‘go ahead take me to jail,'” the affidavit said …  Ford also took out all of his money and threw it onto the ground, the officer wrote …  The officer noted that he could “smell a strong odour of an alcoholic beverage on his breath. His eyes were bloodshot” … Ford also appeared to be “acting nervous,” and after searching him, the officer found a “marijuana joint” in his right rear pants pocket.

* Rob Ford bracing for fallout over US drug and alcohol charges revealed.

* Ford dodges pot bust in Florida … Ford said he’s never had any trouble crossing the border since the incident and no longer uses marijuana … “I don’t use drugs. I’m not in that scene,” he said …  He put the incident so far behind him, he said he was caught off guard and adamantly denied having been charged when first approached by the Sun … “No to answer your question,” Ford said … “I’m dead serious. When I say no, I mean never. No question, Now I’m getting offended. No means no.” … But after Ford was provided with details from a Florida state criminal history record obtained by the Sun, he admitted the incident …  “I completely forgot about it until you mentioned it right now,” he said.

* Ford’s drunk driving conviction could steer his campaign into the ditch …  KELLY GRANT – CITY HALL BUREAU CHIEF …The Globe and Mail …

L’Envoi

MAYOR ROB FORD AT 2011 LEVEE. (Note: This is NOT the same woman who claimed he groped her when they posed for a photo.)

We’d just like to make two final points about our own opinions :

* We ourselves actually believe in the legalization of marijuana at least. And the news that Rob Ford got caught with a joint in his back pocket in Florida just humanizes him for people like us. We’d note as well some further intelligence from the 2010 Toronto Sun report noted in the third part two link above : “One toke over the line can be a career-ender if the line in question is the US border …  But not for mayoral candidate Rob Ford, who successfully beat a marijuana possession charge in Florida in 1999, even though he admits he was guilty as charged … ‘They pulled me over,’ Ford said. ‘I was with my wife. They found one joint in my back pocket’ … It was Valentine’s Day 1999 and Ford and his wife-to-be were in the Miami area for a winter break …  He was arrested, booked and fingerprinted, then released on his own recognizance … But Ford said he never had to appear in court —  he hired a lawyer and the charge was eventually dropped, for reasons Ford can’t remember.”  What Rob Ford is really guilty of here, in our view, is hypocrisy. He does not support the legalization of marijuana. He pretends he is in the altogether different conservative camp, that just wants to throw anyone who comes anywhere near any kind of (non-prescription) drugs in jail.

* We’d also recognize that the Gawker website characterization of Rob Ford as “Toronto’s conservative mayor …  a wild lunatic given to making bizarre racist pronouncements and randomly slapping refrigerator magnets on cars” is … well, a bit naive may be the best way of putting it. Rob Ford, in our view is not “racist” (and in 2010, eg, he received a  lot of votes from various quite non-white people who now reside in the old Toronto suburbs — and especially in Scarborough). Similarly, the fourth part two link above suggested that “Ford’s drunk driving conviction could steer his campaign into the ditch.” But it did not do anything of the sort. Even now, the Yahoo Canada site is running an online poll on”What do you think of the Rob Ford drug allegations?” There are two possible answers : “I think they’re true” ; and “I don’t believe them.” When we first checked in, the tide was running at about 50% for each side. At the moment (c. 2:15 AM ET, May 18) the popular verdict is 53% “they’re true” and 47% “don’t believe them.” On our counterweights site, we’re all for streetcars, and Mayor Ford is all against them, and we are consequently all against him (and his in some ways even worse brother, Doug). But we also think the forces of progress are making a great mistake when they just try to dismiss politicians like Rob Ford as nothing more than “a wild lunatic given to making bizarre racist pronouncements.” Rob Ford appeals to many among the democratic masses — white, yellow, beige, brown, or black —  because the left alternative too often actually is too “elitist.” And even if his alleged crack smoking does finally prove a true enough story, it is not at all clear that this will ruin the political career of Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford — a man who is perhaps not quite as bulky as Chris Christie in New Jersey, but is certainly competitive nonetheless.

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  1. Nothing ever changes:

    Here is part of the testimony of Judge Alfred J Talley, given before the US Senate Hearings of 1926:

    “It has brought the sickening slime of corruption, dishonor, and disgrace into every group of employees and officials in city, State, and Federal departments that have been charged with the enforcement of this odious law.”

    The second biggest business during alcohol prohibition in Detroit was liquor at $215 million a year and employing about 50,000 people. Authorities were not only helpless to stop it, many were part of the problem. During one raid the state police arrested Detroit Mayor John Smith, Michigan Congressman Robert Clancy and Sheriff Edward Stein.

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